Music

Usher Accepts Lifetime Achievement Award at 2024 BET Awards, But Speech’s Audio Kept Cutting Out

Usher accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 BET Awards Sunday night (June 30) at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles, but the audio cut out for a good chunk of his speech for those watching from home.

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“It is great to see him get the flowers while the garden is still growing, so keep growing them flowers,” said Terry Lewis at the beginning of the segments. While he and Jimmy Jam mentioned they produced one of Usher’s biggest records that was part of his tribute performance — “Bad Girl” from his 2004 magnum opus Confessions — they enlisted two other influential men in the R&B superstar’s life to present him with the prestigious honor: L.A. Reid and Babyface. And while the gentlemen honored Usher’s mother, Jonnetta Patton, for bringing him into this world and being the “original momager,” Babyface added that they “were part of your musical birth, and you are worthy of this prestigious award.”

Usher took the stage for his approximately 12-minute acceptance speech, but about four minutes of it were largely inaudible for those not in the theater with him. (Billboard has reached out to BET for comment about the audio during Usher’s speech.)

“Getting here has definitely not been easy, but it has been worth it. … I didn’t write anything because I wanted this moment to be exactly what it was: present. In this moment, how I am feeling and the appreciation that I have for each and every person that had anything to do with this moment tonight as well as the 30-plus-year career that I celebrate. … I don’t know, man, is it too early for me to receive it? Because I’m still running and gunning and I still love this s–t like I did when I was eight years old,” he began.

He later explained how he initially had a hard time making sense of his birth name, which Usher said was given to him by a man who didn’t stick around or love him. “Or at least, that was my perception of it, because I had to live long enough in order to understand you have to have a forgiving heart in order to understand the true pitfalls and hardships of a Black man in America,” said the eight-time Grammy winner. “And my father, he was a product of that. He made a lot of decisions, he made a lot of choices and the one that probably hurt and helped me at the same time was to stay away. But that’s part of the reason why I say this is the year of the father, where all the fathers gotta stand up for their sons and daughters and be the man that they need them to be for them.”

While praising Jam, Lewis, Reid and Babyface for how they helped shaped his successful career, Usher described them as “the men who motivated me, who speak to me, who have spoken to me, who have been solid no matter how f–ked up it may have been — sorry, I’m cursing to let you know how I really feelm” while “f–k” was censored but a subsequent “s–t” wasn’t. Almost four minutes into his speech, Usher’s speech starting cutting in and out for almost four minutes straight.

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But according to a Billboard reporter inside the awards show, Usher said “f–k” and “motherf–ker” once, while barely swearing throughout his speech that didn’t contain any salacious subject matter.

When the sound was restored, Usher shouted out his eldest sons Usher “Cinco” Raymond V and Nayvid Ely Raymond, who were in the front row, as well as his son Sire Castrello Raymond and daughter Sovereign Bo Raymond, who were at home. “It is 100% all about my children and making certain that you understand that your dreams can come true if you truly committed, if you are committed to it, if you’re dedicated to something and you find passion and you stay committed to it, this could potentially be you. This could be your moment. Not on this stage, because I’m the only one that’s gonna have this one,” he joked.

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